Sunday, July 13, 2014

A little bird appears with a little lesson

January 17. 2014 4:44PM

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“Today I will be as happy as a bird with a french fry.”

Now that’s a mantra.

Such an agreeable one, in fact, I bought it. As in bought the hand-painted artists’ stretch canvas on which it appeared.

Thanks Linvilla Orchards, one of my new favorite nearby places to forage. (Turnpike-accessible in cute Media, Pa., which also boasts a funky, factory-ish Trader Joe’s.)

So now I am the happy owner of that sign (aquamarine and orange and only $15). Happy because I kind of have a thing for words on signs and definitely have a thing for unpredictable words on signs. Which is to say I’d rather not wake up each morning to art that instructs me to live, laugh and love or dance like no one is watching.

As for the bird and his fry? Who wouldn’t love this? I asked my tastemaking jury before bringing it home with an ironic grin, a promise to self and a $1.70 bag teeming with plump Brussels sprouts, also difficult to pass up at Linvilla, seeing as they were perched under a sign that read, “Vegetables, 50 percent off.” Don’t see that every day either.

So, theoretically, if simplistically, my cup now runneth over. Now to maintain that mantra, to look at my new sign every day and vow to uphold its tidy instruction while cutting back on the fussing and fighting.

Give a human a french fry, and he eats for two seconds; give a bird a french fry, and he’s good for … two days?


As go things to think about, I could do worse, already so seemingly deep into 2014 with nary another resolution made. Sure, I ran down the usual list: eat/drink less, exercise better (not so much more but more effectively), work less/play more, organize less/find more …

That last one might be my special talent: I have a specific place for everything, and no one better put it back where it doesn’t belong, but they also better not expect me to quite remember some of my specific places should they need something in a hurry. Because sometimes things just get away. Like time.

Hard to believe yet another year has expired. Was it really last year right around now that I vowed to try Brussels sprouts — trendier than ever with foodies — 12 different ways? I managed two, and not until November and December, at which time I decided, for what it’s worth, that roasted with red wine vinegar, olive oil and shallots wins.

But this year? This year things will be different, I swear. My to-do list, as usual, runneth over, but this year each month I actually will cross things off it. Or, better yet, maybe not put things on it to begin with. Not so much “learn to want,” as a sibling once sternly advised after listening to my latest home-improvement dreams, but “learn not to want” (because you don’t aspire/desire/covet/whatever in the first place).

My Grandma — she who used to say “I got Frank (Grandpop) and electric heat; what more do I need?” — would be so proud if I can pull this off. She lived many happy years in half a house sided in that now-forgotten red faux brick with the same two green rocking chairs on the porch. I’ve called my latest place home for almost eight years and probably ran through eight sets of chairs, rocking and otherwise. And I’m still not fully in love with the ones I’m with, truth be told.

Enough of that. This year, baby, the bird with the single spud, a.k.a. single candle, has spoken. Can’t promise I’ll sustain this outlook for more than a month, but check back in six. Catch me with a full sack of potatoes, and I’ll make it up to you with a pancake party.

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